[Numeracy 290] Re: Looking for patterns

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stellacsullivan at aol.com stellacsullivan at aol.com
Mon Apr 5 09:15:57 EDT 2010

I think Cheryl brings in another point with her anecdotal story about the boy. In my experience, I've noticed students retain information when a story is attached (like the one about the boy learning his 9 facts). Songs and stories really anchor "facts" into my students' long term memory. However, I wonder if these stories/songs deter students from bridging these concrete examples with the abstract concepts? Any thoughts on how to bridge the concrete with the abstract?


-----Original Message-----
From: CHERYL HAGERTY <hagertyc at mtc.edu>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Tue, Mar 30, 2010 5:40 pm
Subject: [Numeracy 256] Looking for patterns

I, too, have a problem remembering if the answer is 54 or 56. But I know for 7
8 it must be 56 as 54 adds up to 9 and so it is the answer to a 9's basic

I tell the story of the little boy who didn't study as he should have, so he
opied down all the math facts as he knew he would be in trouble if he didn't at
east look busy.
9 x 1 =
x 2 =
x 3 =
x 4 =
x 5 =
x 6 =
x 7 =
x 8 =
x 9 =
Well, he knew that one times any number would be that number so he answered the
irst one correctly. And then because he knew he needed to look busy, he
ecided to number his paper.
9 x 1 = 9
x 2 = 1
x 3 = 2
x 4 = 3
x 5 = 4
x 6 = 5
x 7 = 6
x 8 = 7
x 9 = 8
He looked around and noticed everyone was still busy so he figured he better
till be writing. So he numbered his paper going up.
9 x 1 = 9
x 2 = 18
x 3 = 27
x 4 = 36
x 5 = 45
x 6 = 54
x 7 = 63
x 8 = 72
x 9 = 81

nd boy, was the little boy surprised when he received a 100 percent on his
aper. The adult students usually enjoy the story. And then I ask them to look
t all the answers. I ask them to add the sum of the digits of each answer and
hey are pleasantly surprised when the sum is always nine.
1 + 8 = 9
+ 7 = 9
+ 6 = 9 and so on.

For those that have been challenged by math, it helps to have them feel good
bout something related to math.
I agree that it is important to learn the basic facts. It helps with your speed
n doing many of the functions dealing with fractions and factoring. But I also
nderstand that some of the adult students have difficulty memorizing at this
oint. I feel it is most important that students understand the many processes
hen dealing with numbers and if a calculator will facilitate their utilizing
ath, I encourage the use. But I also warn students that you should be able to
o the problem with paper and pencil because you never know when the light may
e too dim for your solar operated calculator to work! :)
Cheryl Hagerty
arion Technical College ABLE program and Community Faculty teaching dev. ed
ath on campus and at the local correctional institutions
-----Original Message-----
rom: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of
atricia Donovan
ent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 3:06 PM
o: numeracy at nifl.gov
ubject: [Numeracy 249] Re: Knowing your facts / stereotype threat/developing
umber sense
Hi Laurie and All,
nowing one's facts is one thing; having number sense is quite another. Even
hen using the calculator, a person needs to have a strong command of number
ense to ensure unreasonable answers get checked. If a student cannot hold on to
umber facts like 7x8 = 56 (and not 54 -- a frequently offered alternative
nswer) that will affect only their precise calculations; however if they do not
nderstand that 70 x 8 will result in a three digit answer, while 7 x 8 will
ot, they are in deep trouble with our without the calculator.
Tricia Donovan

ricia Donovan
orld Education
4 Farnsworth St.
oston, MA 02210
ax 617-482-0617

>> "Lauri Schoneck" <SchonecL at seminolestate.edu> 03/30/10 2:02 PM >>>

will have to agree to disagree with Kerry... I believe math facts are
ot the ABC's of math, but rather another code in the seemingly unending
lethora of codes that work together to help us understand all kinds of
ath. Proof that you can have math understanding and not have your math
acts is in the TABE applied math section. Time and time again,
tudents score FAR better on the applied math portion (with a
alculator) than they do on the calculation section (without a
alculator). There are a few simple rules to keep in mind when setting
p problems on a calculator, and students who are not math fact savvy
re not also necessarily math concept inept. More students understand
he concepts and could work the problem if it weren't for multiplying
nd dividing sitting in their way.
With that said, my 7 year old *will know his times tables and division
ables*, I will see to it that he does. I use those facts everyday!!
ut...adult learners learn differently than children. And when I see a
2 year old single-mother of 4 struggling to make it past her math GED
est b/c her rote memory of the times tables eludes her, I get so
rustrated with "the system". This same 32 year old has passed every
ED subtest, and a promotion is riding on her passing her GED test...it
egs the question...if she understands the concepts (and she does), why
old her back b/c she lacks the rote memory skills to have rapid recall
f her math facts?
This single mom is but one of the hundreds, if not thousands of stories
round the country. I would **definitely** hold children responsible
or learning their math facts (dycalculia aside), but adults may be past
he point of learning them with fluency or reliability.
I certainly welcome others' opinions on this subject. Especially if
here is anyone out there who is consulting or writing tests such as the
ABE or GED... I'd personally like to see more calculator use available
n these tests.

:-), Lauri (PS: Being that I'm a math teacher, I'd rather not be held

ccountable for my writing/language skills... ;-))))
Lauri M. Schoneck, M.Ed
rofessor, ABE/GED
eminole State College of Florida
anford, FL
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